As we’ve seen time and time again during Dustin Johnson’s career, he can never just coast to the clubhouse. This time, it was a rain delay, an out-of-bounds line and a water hazard that tried to stop his path to victory, but DJ powered through as he often does.
Johnson’s one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman is his 21st on tour, his first since the 2019 WGC–Mexico Championship, where he was able to coast to a five-stroke win over Rory McIlroy. He would have preferred that method today in Cromwell, Connecticut, but a win is a win. Here are our four takeaways from the final round of the Travelers Championship.
The answer is an unequivocal NO. How have we not learned our lesson with this guy yet?
Dustin Johnson is the guy who is beating you 28-6 late in the second half of a game of rugby league, but rather than step on your neck, he “makes things interesting” by letting you score a few times. Sometimes that works out and you still win 28-24. Other times you ground your club in a bunker and cost yourself a Major. It’s dangerous business, as Johnson proved on the back nine. Each time he had a chance to run away with this thing, he immediately made a mistake – an OB tee shot at the par-5 13th, flirting with the water on the 15th, a bogey on the par-3 16th, just to name a few. He just refuses to win easily.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 28, 2020
The thing is, DJ was beginning to get used to the win-it-easy life. His past four victories on the PGA Tour were by at least three strokes, and one of those was his epic walk-off eagle at the 2018 FedEx St Jude Classic. But today at TPC River Highlands he reverted to his old, hold-your-breath and chomp-on-your-fingernails form, ultimately claiming his 21st PGA Tour title. Would he rather win by five? Sure, but that’d be a lot less fun to watch.
Photo: Maddie Meyer
What a Sunday for Will Gordon
After shooting a third-round 71, few expected Will Gordon to bounce back the way he did today. He did more than just bounce back, shooting a six-under 64 that lifted him into a tie for third, which earned him special temporary status on the PGA Tour after entering the week with no status on any circuit. And he birdied the 18th hole in order to get it. Talk about clutch. There’s only one winner every week on tour, but stories like Gordon’s show you can still win big without actually raising the trophy.
Is Bryson DeChambeau going to win or what?
Obviously, yes, Bryson is going to win sooner or later, but today’s T-6 marked his sixth straight finish inside the top 8 without a win. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but to not pick off even just one win during this strong run of form is pretty surprising, if not alarming. Before this week, it was poor Saturday performances that were holding him back, but that wasn’t the case this week, when he shot a third-round 65. And while it feels like it’s his putting that’s kept him from winning, he finished 12th in strokes-gained putting this week. Again, he “should” get it done soon, but as we’ve seen these first few weeks with guys like Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy and Abraham Ancer, that’s much easier said than done.
After rounds of 64 and 63, 50-year-old Phil Mickelson was the outright leader of the Travelers Championship. After Friday’s round, we wondered if he could keep it together all four days, something he struggles to do as he gets older at places not named Pebble Beach. We are sad to report that our concerns were legitimate, as Lefty went 71-71 on the weekend to drop into a tie for 24th.
You’ll never believe this, but his driver failed him on the weekend. After gaining strokes off the tee in each of the first two rounds, he lost 0.235 on Saturday and then lost 3.042 on Sunday, when he hit just five fairways. Someone who has never watched golf in their life could tell you that ain’t gonna get it done. Like many of you, we love it when Phil is in the mix and hope he continues to be as long as he wants, but it’s hard to get excited about the 63s and 64s when you know the one-over 71 is lurking right around the corner.